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Fish and Shellfish, Mains, Quick and Easy

Scallops with Indian-spiced cauliflower

Scallops with Indian-spiced cauliflower
Los Angeles Times

Now is the season for Nantucket scallops, those sweet little nuggets from cold Atlantic waters. You could argue that they don't need anything but the sizzle of butter in a hot pan, but you'd be wrong. Lee Hefter, executive chef ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour | Serves 4

Almond-tamarind sauce

  • 2 teaspoons clarified butter, or oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 small dried red chile, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon almond paste
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock

Step 1Heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, chile, cumin, coriander, pepper, salt to taste and garam masala. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 3 minutes. Add the tamarind paste, sugar, almond paste, coconut milk and stock. Simmer 10 minutes. Place in a blender; blend until smooth. Strain, then adjust the salt.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons chopped jalapeno
  • 1 head cauliflower, about 2 pounds, cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cracked cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro

Step 1Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter, garlic, ginger and jalapeno. Cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cauliflower, nutmeg, cumin, coriander, bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Cover; cook over medium-low heat until tender, 15 minutes. Remove the lid; cook until the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the mint and cilantro.


  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • Dash garam masala, optional
  • Cilantro sprigs or basil leaves

Step 1Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the oil. When it smokes, add the scallops (cook in 2 batches). When browned on the bottom, turn and cook until all sides are browned, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes total, stirring to keep them from sticking. Add the butter and allow to foam. Baste the scallops with the butter until they are cooked, 30 seconds.

Step 2Divide the cauliflower among 4 plates. Arrange the scallops around it. Spoon 2 tablespoons of almond-tamarind sauce on and around the scallops; dust lightly with the garam masala. Garnish with cilantro or basil.

Note: Tamarind paste is sold at Asian markets. To clarify butter, melt 1 stick over low heat. Spoon off foam, then pour off clarified butter. Use a mortar and pestle to crack the cumin and coriander.


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